Sitting Next to a Cute Girl on an Airplane

No one’s ever brushed their teeth faster.

Time To Read: 3 mins | October 13, 2016

I’d made the mistake of indulging my friend’s request to ‘grab a beer’ in uptown San Francisco the night before. Seven cocktails, sixty dollars, three terrible pick-up lines and one heart-to-heart conversation later (“You’re my best friend, man. I swear, I love you.”), I woke up at 9:00am the next day nearly fully dressed – I’d managed to get my belt and one shoe off before collapsing on top of the sheets.

Which would be fine if this were, say, a typical Sunday morning. But this was a Tuesday, and I had a flight to LA in 2 hours. So, at first glance, being almost totally dressed would be an advantage. But that argument only holds up if you couldn’t smell me.

I stripped, showered, and peed like I was Austin Powers post-cryofreeze – which I had absolutely no time for. I grabbed the only combination of clothing that I hadn’t yet worn, a t-shirt and pants that’d laid crumpled at the bottom of my bag all week, and called an Uber for SFO.

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My life was… I believe the term the kids use is a ‘hot mess’.

But sitting on the plastic-wrapped back seat of an Accord for twenty minutes, I reflected that none of this mattered. In my innocent olden days, I’d always fantasized about finding love on an airplane. Sitting next to a gorgeous stranger for multiple hours who can’t escape even if she wanted? I really need to phrase that better so as not to sound like a creep, but you see my point — lots of potential in that situation.

The plot falls apart, however, by the minor detail that I’m invariably sat next to a teensy tiny elderly Indian woman, or a 250-pound professional body builder. I’ve never sat next to an attractive girl on an airplane unless I brought her with me.

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So, wearing wrinkled clothing and smelling only slightly better than Gollum’s asshole, I assumed my train wreck appearance wouldn’t matter.

You can guess what happens next.

After chugging two criminally overpriced Bloody Mary’s, I boarded my flying nightclub Virgin America plane, and kept a bleary eye out for seat 22F. I am a die-hard window seat man – I can sleep anywhere, in any position imaginable, so long as I have something to lean my head on.

I found my row, tossed my bag into the overhead compartment and tapped the hood-wearing girl in 22E on the shoulder. When she looked up from her phone and popped an earbud out I, in an inspired moment, said, “I appreciate you listening to your porn on headphones, but I’m the seat inside of you.”

High-risk maneuver, I’ll admit, but half-hungover half-drunk half-smelly totally-wrinkled me had dismissed caution and put decorum in timeout. Which worked, because she laughed loudly, let me pass, and after I sat down she turned to me and smiled.

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And of course, after 29 years of waiting, the girl sitting next to me was gorgeous. While I looked and smelled like I’d just slept in a particularly foul dumpster.

Best story climax ever: nothing else happened. We didn’t speak again. She immediately went back to her porn or, more likely, some other non-X-rated video. She wore her white sweatshirt’s hood, which was big enough for an Assassin’s Creed avatar, nearly all the rest of the one-hour flight.

Now, odds are she had a boyfriend, or is simply not into guys that look like they were extras in the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movies. But my self-conscious ass has since internalized the incident. I once heard a great piece of advice: always go out in public dressed as if you’re about to meet your future wife. The day I ignored such wisdom, based on the idea that there’s a 0% chance of sitting next to someone attractive on an airplane, I lost a chance I’d been waiting nearly three decades for.

And thus, the love of my life continues to be my drunkard guy friend in San Francisco.

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photo: we got lost for 2 hours on a dirt mountain track made exclusively of razor sharp rocks while driving a 2wd mitsubishi. this photo from the top was the only good thing to come out of it. turrialba, costa rica

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Malcolm Freberg
Malcolm Freberg
American writer living permanently on the road. Believes rye whiskey is superior to bourbon, Belle is the best Disney princess, and that selfie sticks should be snapped in half on sight. Hosted a travel documentary for AOL & played Survivor a few times.

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